Apr 212018
 

APR Patrons contributing more than $10 per month were today sent a 1969 diagram of a preliminary design for what would become the AWACS plane… close, but with eight engines rather than four. This design was illustrated in color artwork from time to time.

And for APR Patrons at the $4 and above level, a diagram of the 777 and scans of a McDonnell-Douglas brochure on the “Med-Lite Family” of launch vehicle concepts have been uploaded to the 2018-04 APR Extras folder on Dropbox:

If you are interested in these and a great many other “extras” and monthly aerospace history rewards, please sign up for the APR Patreon. What else are you going to spend $4 a month on? Taxes?

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 Posted by at 8:50 am
Mar 112018
 

A model of the Northrop low altitude penetrator alternative to the B-2, to be 3D printed and turned into a kit for Fantastic Plastic is in the very early stages.

And a JPL interstellar precursor spacecraft design with a Pluto orbiter. The goal was to put scientific instruments a full 1,000 astronomical units out using nuclear/electric propulsion. This model is being built with the specific intention of using it to create a set of accurate and consistent diagrams for the next issue of US Spacecraft projects, but I wonder if there might be interest in a physical model of this.

 

 Posted by at 1:49 am
Feb 282018
 

The L-2000 was Lockheed’s entrance into the mid-1960’s FAA contest to design and develop an American supersonic transport. The FAA wanted the US to have an SST substantially better than the Anglo-French Concorde, with up to 250 passengers and a cruise speed of up to Mach 3 (as fast as an SR-71). Interestingly, the Concorde was not expected to be a long0lived design, but rather was simply going to be the *first* SST, a technology demonstrator, a diplomatic endeavor between historic enemies Britain and France, a flying sales brochure for Angle-French industry. And the Tupolev Tu 144 was an attempt to put something, *anything*, into the air first.

In the end, the FAA selected the Boeing 2707 design, ending the L-2000. And after great promise was shown, politics killed the Boeing 2707, ending substantial forward progress in civil aviation. Since then, air flight has gotten cheaper and more efficient, but it has not gotten any faster… and it certainly hasn’t become more comfortable.

This artwork depicts an earlier configuration with a simpler, less elegant shape.

I’ve uploaded the full rez scans to the 2018-02 APR Extras Dropbox folder, available to all current APR Patrons at the $4 level and above. If you are interested in this and a great many other “extras” and monthly aerospace history rewards, please sign up for the APR Patreon. Chances are good that $4/month is far cheaper than your espresso/booze budget!

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 Posted by at 10:06 pm
Feb 272018
 

Rewards have been issued to APR Patreon patrons for February, 2018. This month, the diagram is a 1/40 scale B-52B diagram. Normally the diagrams are sent out at full 300 dpi (with 125 dpi for the $1.25 patrons), but at 300 dpi the diagram is simply Way Too Big at over 40,000 pixels wide. Most image viewing programs will simply go “nope”and refuse to even try to display such images. so this month the image is sent out at 200 dpi (still slightly over 30,000 pixels wide), and 83 dpi for the $1.25 patrons. The 83 dpi version is also included for the higher level patrons for easier viewing.

Also: the documents this month include a United Aircraft paper on advanced future space propulsion systems as seen from 1969, and a January 1953 Douglas Aircraft design study for the DC-8. The CAD diagram this month is the Ganswindt Weltenfahrzeug… a truly terrible design for a spaceship from 1899. Terrible though it may be, it one of the first designs that is clearly in the Project Orion family tree…

If you are interested in helping to preserve (and get copies of) this sort of thing, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

 

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 Posted by at 2:36 pm
Feb 252018
 

Almost forgotten these days is the Fairchild XC-120 “Packplane,” the single example of which flew from 1950 to 1952. It was a cargo plane with a difference… the cargo was carried not in the fuselage, but in a replaceable “pod” carried below the flat-bottomed fuselage. It would permit the carriage and easy swapping of specialty pods… surgical units, housing, that sort of thing. An interesting notion, but not interesting enough to merit production.

Like a lot of aircraft, not a whole lot of good diagrams of the XC-120. I found a kinda horrible copy in a report, split into several pieces, and stitched it back together.

I’ve uploaded the full-rez version to the APR Patreon Extras Feb 2018 folder, available to all APR patrons at the $4 level and higher.

Support the APR Patreon to help bring more of this sort of thing to light!

 

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 Posted by at 9:51 pm
Jan 152018
 

A 1966 Aerojet concept for a space probe with a nuclear reactor and ion engines. Note the largish thermal radiator “wings;” such things are usually left off spacecraft in science fiction, but they are a vital part of any nuclear spacecraft. Nukes, after all, are simply heat sources; in order to get useful electrical power out of them, the heat must be used to boil a working fluid which runs a turbogenerator; and the hot gas then needs to be condensed back to a liquid by radiating the heat way to space. And thermal radiation is a terribly slow and weak process, necessitating large radiators. Electricity can also be created with thermionic systems, which generate electricity across a thermal differential… hot on one side, cold on the other. But unless the cold side it attached to some radiators, the cold side will soon be just as hot as the hot side, and then… no thermal differential, no power generation.

Note also that even with a substantial powerplant and the sizable bank of ion engines, acceleration is going to be creakingly slow. Thus you can get away with spindly structures. The reactor itself is the tiny little tin can-looking thing, top and centerline; the U-shaped structure around it is a radiation shield protecting the electronics, structure and radiators from the radiation spat out by the reactor.

 Posted by at 1:39 am
Jan 082018
 

The Curtiss-Wright X-19 was a reasonably successful experimental tilt-prop VTOL aircraft from the first half of the 1960’s. Two aircraft were built; one crashed, one is at the USAF Museum in Dayton (I believe it’s in a restoration facility). The Defense Technical Information Center has two CW documents in PDF format that cover the technology of the X-19 in some detail:

THE X-19 V/STOL TECHNOLOGY: A CRITICAL REVIEW – final report

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THE X-19 V/STOL TECHNOLOGY: A CRITICAL REVIEW – technical report

abstract

One of the documents includes a fold-out three-view diagram of the X-19, scanned in glorious Extra No color two-bit black and white as two separate pages. I’ve stitched them back together and tried to make the diagram look reasonably good; I’ve uploaded the full-rez result of my effort to the 2018-0 APR Extras folder on Dropbox, available to all APR patrons at the $4 level and higher.

Support the APR Patreon to help bring more of this sort of thing to light!

 

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 Posted by at 11:13 pm
Dec 302017
 

The rewards for APR Patrons have been issued. This month:

CAD Diagram: Marquardt hypersonic burning ramjet booster

Diagram: Convair Class VP Airplane High Performance Flying Boat

Document 1: Apollo Exploration Shelter System

Document 2: Chrysler Work Station Capsule (“work pod” for astronauts)

Document 3: Sikorsky S-97 “Raider” brochure

 

If you are interested in helping to preserve (and get copies of) this sort of thing, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

 

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 Posted by at 11:15 am